Malacañang has defended the huge budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that has been allocated for resettlement of informal settlers and potable water projects.
The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) earlier bared that P1.9 billion in additional allocation has been inserted in the proposed national budget next year for the DILG.
UNA said that raising the DILG budget could be part of a campaign buildup for the presidential race in 2016. The DILG is headed by Liberal Party President Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, expected to be one of the presidential contenders in 2016.
Palace Spokesman Edwin Lacierda clarified that the programs to be funded are the President’s, and not Roxas’.
“For the record: first, the budget is the President’s program and this is his budget, not Secretary Butch’s [Abad] or Secretary Mar’s,” Lacierda said.
“Second, the DILG is tasked to implement Salintubig: water for waterless towns; Pamana: basic infra rebuilding for conflict affected areas; BUB (Bottom Up Budgeting): getting the communities to directly input what hard infra they need vs. having National Government agencies dictate to them what is downloaded,” he added.
The Palace official also said that these programs have been there since 2011, and the only new program in the 2014 outlay is the one for resettlement of informal settlers living along waterways.
“All these programs have been there since 2011. New for 2014 is the President’s program to save those in danger areas—ISF Sagip Buhay: Saving informal Settler families’ lives and moving them to safer ground,” he said.
“UNA seems to disagree with the President wants implemented to better the lives of the affected sectors. That’s quite unfortunate,” Lacierda added.
The items in the DILG’s proposed 2014 budget are a P1.24-billion allotment for a housing program for informal settlers residing in danger areas in Metro Manila; P573 million for a potable water supply project for municipalities and barangay, and P76 million for enhancing local government capacities for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. CATHERINE S. VALENTE